Just as each school is unique, each child has different needs and desires. First, a family should spend time assessing and understanding these needs and desires. From there, determine how competitive or supportive an academic setting would meet your needs. Is remedial help needed in certain areas? Does your child perform better in a structured or relaxed environment? Would your child be more comfortable in a single gender or coed school? Is a day or a boarding school environment better? Are there special programs which would be of particular interest? What is your child's favorite subject and co-curricular activities (music, art, debate, sports, etc.) At the same time parents need to consider their own preferences and concerns. What level of formality (dress code and approach to discipline) would make you feel comfortable? Where do you have concerns about costs and/or financial aid? Is transportation a concern? Do you need an extended day program?
As you attempt to answer all your questions, you should collect information about the various schools in which you are interested. Call and request admissions brochures, applications and log onto each school's website to better understand their mission, programs and offerings (refer to the member school tab). Find out the deadlines and requirements. Is an interview required? Is there admissions testing or any sort of academic assessment? What are the application deadlines, if any? Are references from current teachers required? What factors does a school consider in making their admissions' decisions? The more information you're able to pull together, the better able you will be to navigate the process.